February 1, 2018        Minnesota's First Autism Resource.

Global Adventures at Como Zoo brings students with common interests together.
AuSM social skills classes foster friendships
When you're on the spectrum, making connections with peers can be a challenge. It's not surprising that "make new friends" is a common goal we hear from parents when they register their loved ones for AuSM social skills classes.
Meeting this goal can be a life-changer for participants.

During the first session of this winter's Global Adventures at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, AuSM education specialist Robyn DeCourcy witnessed the beginning of one of these friendships.

DeCourcy describes the moment: "We were waiting for other kids to arrive in the Como lobby and I noticed two of our students happily chatting about their favorite animals and conservation efforts. I asked their parents if the students knew each other before the class, and was surprised to hear they had just met and made an instant social connection."

Sharing a common interest is a valuable strategy for making a positive peer connection. AuSM social skills classes aid this strategy as common interests are built into the class focus. The Global Adventures students came together with special interests in the zoo, animals, and caring for the environment.

"Both boys are extremely smart and above-average conversationalists, but they struggle sometimes to share attention and to stay on topic," DeCourcy said. "It was amazing to see the students come together in a place that was judgment-free and helped them connect. I can't wait to see this friendship grow."

Disability Day at the Capitol

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Minnesota State Capitol
75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 
St. Paul, MN 55155

Join The Arc Minnesota for the 2018 Disability Day at the Capitol where participants will gather to rally in support of people with disabilities in Minnesota. This event is co-sponsored by the Autism Society of Minnesota, Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance, Advocating Change Together, MOFAS, Minnesota Council on Disability, and Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. We encourage participation by families and individuals affected by autism so the needs of those with autism can be heard. Cost: Free, but registration is encouraged.  Click here to register.  
Steps Team 1
Join us for Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota 2018 on March 4
Get ready for the ultimate autism community event of the year! Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota 2018 is coming your way on Sunday, March 4, 2018 from 8:30-11 a.m. Held at Southdale Center in Edina, Steps of Hope will feature the state's largest annual autism resource fair, fun games, the 2nd annual AuSM Flash Dash, and a huge opportunity to join this awesome community in raising dollars to support programs and services for those affected by autism in Minnesota.  Registration is open! Plan to participate and start rallying your team of AuSM fundraising heroes!

Fundraisers will receive one FREE limited edition Love Your Melon AuSM customized beanie for fundraising $125. Show your AuSM pride with this unique cap! Beanie supplies are limited. 

University of Minnesota's SPARK study seeks families with autism to assist in research
Thousands of participants are needed for the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, or SPARK. The SPARK study provides researchers with the genetic information from thousands of families affected by autism from around the country.
Kelly Kausel and her 8-year-old son, Noah, are among the nearly 300 families currently registered for the study through the University of Minnesota. Kausel's family joined last year knowing the information could help Noah and also future family members. "I want to help, especially generations below our family and my son," Kausel said.

Participants can register online. After entering information, participants will be sent a saliva DNA kit.   "It's very easy and this study is great for people who are rural, and in the Twin Cities, because you don't have to drive anywhere," Kausel said. "This is going to be a great way for research to happen." 

Click here to learn more about the Kausel family and why they're participating in the SPARK study. 
To learn more about SPARK and to participate, click here.
Adults with autism: celebrate birthdays with treats and games at AuSM
AuSM is pleased to announce the creation of a monthly birthday celebration and game night for adults with autism ages 18+. Birthdays are something we all have in common - let's celebrate together! Come to AuSM to celebrate your birthday and the birthdays of others with cake and games. Bring a board or card game to play. AuSM will provide treats. Everyone is welcome, whether it's your birthday or not! The cost is $3 per person, unless it's your birthday month, in which case registration is free. AuSM's next celebration will be on Feb. 21 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at AuSM's office in St. Paul.  Click here for more information and to register.
Major League Baseball and Minnesota Twins Autism Awareness Day at Target Field June 3
Join AuSM for a fun day at Target Field as Major League Baseball and the Minnesota Twins celebrate Autism Awareness Day on June 3. Those purchasing game tickets through AuSM's unique link will have the opportunity to participate in an on-field parade before watching the Twins take on the Cleveland Indians. Ticket purchase through AuSM's link includes the pre-game parade, a seat at the game, and a $3 donation to the Autism Society of Minnesota. Cheer for the Twins while supporting those you love with autism! Tickets are $22 each and must be purchased by May 13, 2018.  Click here to order your tickets today.
AuSM PERSPECTIVES: Ask the Therapist Archive
Dear Sara,

Our son is 14 years old and has ASD, and we are not sure how to motivate or discipline him appropriately now that he is older. We want to have him do some basic chores, complete a hygiene routine in the morning, and make it to school on time. In the past, we used lots of pictures, lists, sticker charts, and rewards. These worked, but it seems like now he should be doing these things on his own.

Honestly, I am not up for making a reward chart for his hygiene routine or his chores after school. Sometimes taking away electronics works, but that also creates more tension and seems to increase his anger toward us. No job or college gives a sticker for completing his morning hygiene routine and handing in his assignments. How do we prepare him for his future without having to go back to the old sticker chart?   
Trying to Transition

Dear Trying to Transition,

This is a challenging time for many families. But rest assured that others have made it through and you can, too! The place I would recommend starting is to look at what you mean by "discipline". If you mean punishment (nagging, threatening, taking away something), you need to remember that punishing a behavior decreases or eliminates something, but does not teach or increase the wanted behavior. In contrast, you seem to be looking for your son to be increasing certain behaviors like brushing teeth, putting on deodorant, walking to the bus, etc. There are different strategies that are more effective when you want to increase a behavior. Those often include rewards like the sticker chart you used previously.

Make 2018 a summer to remember!
AuSM camps are tailored for youth and adults with autism. Parents and caregivers can rest assured knowing that their campers are being cared for by highly trained, experienced staff, while campers make memories that last a lifetime. AuSM camps are available for individuals ages 6 and up who are AuSM members. Camp offerings include a day camp where campers arrive each morning and leave each afternoon and two residential camps where campers stay several days and nights. 

To be eligible for camp registration, you must be a current member of AuSM. AuSM reserves the right to assign campers to the camp that best matches the camper's needs. If the appropriate camp is full, the camper will be placed on the wait list for an opening. If no opening is available, the deposit will be refunded. If you have questions about which camp best suits your camper, please contact AuSM at 651.647.1083 ext. 16 or e-mail camp@ausm.org.

Registration is open and camps are filling quickly. Register as soon as possible to secure your camp of choice placement.

Hand in Hand (1:1 support)
Session 1: June 24-29, 2018; males, ages 19-24; females, ages 19-25
Session 2: July 29-Aug. 3, 2018; males ONLY, ages 15-19
Session 3: Aug. 5-10, 2018; males, ages 24+; females, ages 26+
Session 4: Aug. 12-17, 2018; males, ages 9-14; females, ages 9-18

Discovery (1:4 support)
Session 1: June 17-22, 2018; males and females, ages 10-17
Session 2: June 24-29, 2018; males and females, ages 18-27

July 27-Aug. 3, 2018; males and females, ages 13-17

Wahode (1:2 support)
Session 1: July 9-13, 2018; males and females, ages 6-12
Session 2: July 23-27, 2018; males and females, ages 6-12
AuSM Social Skills Classes 
for Youth and Young Adults
Led by autism experts, AuSM social skills classes foster confidence and self-esteem while participants learn how to make friends, interact with a group, practice socializing, and have fun - all while educators encourage participants to be themselves. Classes offer low-stress, accepting environments that promote learning and growth while celebrating neurodiversity.

2018 AuSM Summer Activities Catalog 
AuSM classes and activities offer low-stress, accepting environments that promote learning and growth while celebrating neurodiversity. AuSM programs are conducive to youth and adults who fall within the wide range of the autism spectrum. Social skills classes are staffed at a 1:4 staff-to-participant ratio. If an individual is able to participate safely in a program but requires more support than 1:4 staffing provides, the individual may bring a Direct Support Professional (DSP). The DSP will be responsible for supporting the individual with communication, behavior, and daily living skills. Call 651.647.1083 ext. 22 or e-mail   education@ausm.org for more information. AuSM is committed to making your class experience positive and rewarding.

Registration for most classes is open. Register as soon as possible to secure your class placement of choice.

CAST Summer Showtime (ages 10-17)
Minnesota Zoo Classes (ages 8-19; registration opens Feb. 8)
Lowry Nature Center (ages 13-18)
AuSM Artists at Mia (ages 11-18)
Toneworks Art Camp (ages 10-21; registration opens in April)
AuSM On the Town (ages 14-26)
Art on the Town (ages 18+)
AuSM Autism Direct Support Certification
AuSM's Autism Direct Support Certification Program is designed for professionals and caregivers who work with or support individuals with autism and want to provide better service and care. This in-depth, 15-hour course will give practical solutions for working with people on the spectrum. Class includes final case study and test.

March 5-April 2, 2018
6-9 p.m.

June 11-14, 2018
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Life With Autism Series
AuSM's Life with Autism Series offers information and strategies to parents, caregivers, family members, relatives, educators, and the community through engaging, age-focused classes led by autism experts and parent speakers. Participants also learn about available services and resources.

Dates: Feb. 24
Cost for one or two participants: $50 for members, $75 for non-members

Dates: Feb. 10
Cost for one or two participants: $50 for members, $75 for non-members

Dates: Mar. 10
Cost for one or two participants: $50 for members, $75 for non-members

Click on this button to register for a Life with Autism Series class.

Autism 101 and Best Strategic Practices
FREE class!

Learn common characteristics of individuals with autism and sensory processing disorders. Obtain valuable insight on evidenced-based best practices to support people with autism and sensory processing sensitivities. Thanks to the Hennepin County Autism Grant, these classes are offered FREE of charge. Registration is required.

Feb. 2 from 2-4 p.m. - TOMORROW
East Lake Street Library

March 3 from 1-3 p.m.
Autism Society of Minnesota

April 12 from 1-3 p.m.
Autism Society of Minnesota

May 9 from 9-11 a.m.
Autism Society of Minnesota


AuSM Skillshops

Feb. 13, 2018
7-9 p.m.
Self-Advocacy: Finding Your Voice and Asking for More
Presenter: Jillian Nelson
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota

Being a self-advocate goes far beyond one "Day At the Capitol". Day-to-day self advocacy can change the quality of your life, give you tools to speak up and fulfill your needs, and improve relationships. Learn tips on how to self-advocate at home, work, and other places in your life.


Feb. 20, 2018
7-9 p.m.
Taking Care of Yourself Inside and Out: Mind-Body Tools for Life
Presenter:  Chrissy Mignogna
Location: University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Campus, Opus Hall Room 201/202

Our busy, stressful lives contribute to poor sleep, diet, and exercise, which leads to stressed children and adults. Practice and explore breathing techniques, integrative movement, and relaxation strategies that can be put into action immediately. Learn how to give your mind, body, and heart what they need by experiencing practices for soothing and releasing.

In partnership with area businesses and organizations, AuSM is pleased to offer monthly opportunities for families and individuals with autism to come together and enjoy fun activities in supportive, welcoming environments. 

Autism Society of Minnesota | 651.647.1083 | info@ausm.org |   www.ausm.org

Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement. AuSM does not sell or share the contact information of our members, volunteers, donors, or supporters.

Autism Society of Minnesota, 2380 Wycliff St. #102,  St. Paul, MN 55114